Mostly Sunny. That’s what I was promised, both by the weather app on my phone, and a quick consult with the weather site I look to for more detailed back up. Before leaving the house, I removed the clip-on fender I had affixed. That’s how confident I was in the guidance I’d received.
So when, in the waning hours of my work day, a massive black cloud slid across the horizon, a cloud so pregnant with watery anger that it was tinged with a menacing yellow, I knew I had been betrayed.
As a cyclist, practitioners of the meteorological arts have generally been my friends down the years. How many times have they warned me of a possible drenching? How many times have they informed of a dramatic temperature shift in the offing? If not exactly oracular in their pronouncements, I’d bet on my local weather people as the house bets its own hand in Vegas.
When at last the cloud burst, thunder rumbling from its edges, the deluge overwhelmed drains and gutters and sprang up from the pavement in rebellion at being cast down. We peered from the front office window and wondered at the fragility of our pale forms. Someone, somewhere penned a fresh bible verse.
At that point, there was the suggestion we might load our bikes into the company van and decamp with our tails tucked, but then Neil said flatly, “I’m riding.” And just as quickly as the storm had pitched up, the mood in the room changed as well. The consensus came that, while not Devo, we were still, in fact, men.
Mine is a short commute, five miles, and so I had little more than a pair of regular shorts and a cotton t-shirt with which to steel myself against the elements. I resigned myself to a drenching. I’ve been drenched before and will be again. NBD.
But maybe the thing you just never get used to is that sensation of cold water flying up your backside, that direct assault on your comfort zone. It unsettles. It offends. The cyclist’s bidet.
When I arrived home my wife cheerfully asked, “How was your ride?” This cheery greeting is the just dessert of the cyclo-spouse, the small recompense for having been abandoned for the bike over a period of years. I chuckled when I heard it. Betrayed by the weatherman, mocked by the wife.
Then I turned and showed her my wet, sandy ass. “Pretty good,” I said, “mostly sunny.”
Image: Matt O’Keefe
Off-label-use in the pharmaceutical world refers to the practice of prescribing any drug for a purpose or to a patient other than for whom it was approved. The FDA can get a little hincky about this, but it goes on all the time. One of the best allergy drugs I ever took was an asthma medication.
My recent trip to Italy reminded me of one of the great divides between American and European culture, as evidenced by the presence of a bidet in my bathroom. On paper, the bidet makes great sense. In practice, I have no idea whatsoever about how to use one … properly. I’d love to learn, but I don’t anticipate getting a personal tutorial on the devices and the nuances of practiced use (I guess I’m supposed to squat?) aren’t likely to be gleaned from an owner’s manual.
So it is that when I travel in Europe, there’s always this extra porcelain device sitting there. I like to maximize my room use, so whenever possible, I press them into service.
My favorite off-label use of bidets is to drain excess water from cycling clothing I’ve just washed in the sink. Sometimes I use them to do the laundry. They have also been repositories for wet clothes when I’ve entered a hotel following a wet ride, and I’ve washed out water bottles in them when the sink is too tiny.
Then there was the time I ate my way into a case of food poisoning so severe that I was humbled to my knees. The bidet seemed an entirely more convenient place to put my face, especially as the sink was six stories above what I could reach.
My sister tells me a bidet is a perfect place to dump a bucket of ice and immerse a bottle of Rosé. She says chilled Rosé is the only way for a non-cyclist to survive a Provençal summer. She knows a bit more than I do about finding a good time.
So if this little discussion hasn’t sent you scrambling for nausea medication, tell us: What’s your favorite off-label use for the bidet?